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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2018-04-25T18:30:02-04:00


Game Thread 4/25: Diamondbacks at Phillies



Before last night, the Phillies were winning games. Let’s go back to that.

Losing? In Philadelphia? Folks, that just doesn’t happen around here. This is a Super Bowl town. This is a NCAA National Championship town area. This is a second-round-of-the-NBA-playoffs town. Dropping a rain-drenched contest to the Diamondbacks 8-4? INEXCUSABLE.

Tonight, Jake Arrieta will play the stopper as the Phillies attempt to smother a one-game losing streak. Odubel Herrera and J.P. Crawford are back in the starting lineup and the scuffling Scott Kingery has taken a seat. Head down to the park and cram some dollar dogs in your gullet, or simply sit at home and scarf down the discounted meat product of your choice.

Game Thread 4/24: Diamondbacks at Phillies



The Phillies may be fresh off a four-game sweep, but this series is being billed as their first real test.

It’s no secret that the Phillies have faced some of the lousier teams the National (and American) League has to offer to start the season. Beating them has been enjoyable and necessary to reach the extremely promising 14-7 record with which the Phillies now find themselves. However, the Diamondbacks are storming into town, coming off a comparably hot start to the 2018 season, currently sitting atop the NL West by four games.

A pair of dominating pitching staffs and effective offenses will square off tonight at Citizens Bank Park, with Vince Velasquez getting the start in the opener. His season is four starts old, and with a 3.80 ERA while averaging almost six innings per appearance, he’s not exactly where you want him, but closer than he looked for most of last season.

Everybody don your slickest fedora and head on down to the ball yard.

Phillies Stat Notes: the NL’s two best pitching staffs face off


Which obviously means we’re in for three slugfests After sweeping the Pirates, the Phils have the 3rd best record in the National League. They are near the top in both run prevention (2nd) and run scoring (3rd), although with respect to the latter they’re scoring more runs than their hitting stats would suggest. Standings The Arizona Diamondbacks come to CBP for their lone visit of the year (damn unbalanced schedules). After reaching the NLDS as a wildcard team last year, the D-backs are off to a very good start, and own the best record in the NL. They’ve managed that despite a lowly .225 batting average and a middle-of-the-pack offense overall. Their strength has been their pitching, and especially their bulllpen, which leads the NL with a 1.88 ERA, and 2.73 FIP. That bullpen ERA is far lower than the #2 in the league (Milwaukee’s 2.64). As for the Phillies, despite most of their hitting stats hanging around the middle of the pack, including most importantly the comprehensive wRC+, they have managed to score the 3rd most runs in the NL, at 5.05 per game. One key to that has been a .278 average with runners in scoring position. That doesn’t sound like much (it’s 5th in the NL), until you consider that they have hit .213 in all other situations. Over this past weekend’s series the NL West nearly caught up to the East in average win pace (82 wins per 162 games, vs. 83 for the East). Batting While the Phillies are among the leaders in scoring runs (5.05 per game, 3rd in the NL), while the D-backs are average-ish (4.52, 8th), they have actually been pretty similar offensively overall. By both the comprehensive wOBA (Phils 8th, D-backs 7th) and its park-adjusted version, wRC+ (Phils 9th, D-backs 8th), they are bunched together in the middle of the NL’s rankings. They’ve gotten to that middlin’ place overall with different strengths though: Getting on base The Phillies’ OBP is 5th in the NL (.325), as they’ve supplemented a somewhat below batting average (.230, 9th in the NL), with the league-leading walk rate in the league (12.0%). Arizona ranks 10th in OBP, with an even lower batting average (.225, 12th), and a solid but lower walk rate (10.2%, 5th). Power The Diamondbacks though lead the NL in Isolated Power* (.174), primarily through doubles and triples. They are only 8th in HRs per game (1.00), but lead the league the percent of their hits that go for extra bases. The Phils on the other hand are near the bottom in both HRs per game (0.90, 13th), and overall ISO (.142, 12th). *ISO, short for Isolated power, is the difference between batting average and slugging percentage, and essentially measures the average extra bases per at bat (1 for a double, 2 for a triple, 3 for a HR). Plate Discipline The Phillies continue leading the NL in taking the first pitch, and total pitches seen per PA. And as mentioned above they have the highest walk rate in the NL (and MLB). As typically happens with high pitch counts, they are also striking out a lot, with the 3rd highest rate in the NL (25.8%). Their BB/K ratio is still pretty good, 5th in the NL at 0.46. The D-backs have been striking out about the same (25.9%, 2nd highest). Small Ball The Phils haven’t been particularly good at making productive outs* or advancing runners from 2nd with none out (15th and 14th, respectively), but they have been 2nd best in the NL at getting runners home from 3rd with less than 2 out. Arizona has been the opposite, near the top in productive outs and advancing runners from 2nd, but 13th in getting runners home from 3rd. *Productive outs are defined as a) successful sacrifice by a pitcher with one out, b) advancing a runner with none out, or c) driving in a baserunner with the second out of the inning. Base Running Both teams are average to very good in these base running metrics. The Phils haven’t been as effective in the past few games but are still 2nd in the NL in both stolen base attempts and successful steals. [...]